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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

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1,193 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,193
Hads: 5,804
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 981
Gots: 1,652 | FT: 98
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with whole vanilla beans and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,193 | Hads: 5,804
Photo of anon
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow, wow, wow!

Pours velvety black, beautiful beer on the pour. A full finger of a coffee colored head, with sticky lacing throughout.

Coffee hits big on the nose, and for a coffee lover, draws you in big time. Mouth watering already. Notes of vanilla, caramel, roasted malts, roasty toasty.

Taste and mouth feel are where this brew owns a gold star. Coffee up front. Big, beautiful roasted, creamy coffee; the bitterness of the dark roast hitting instantly, with the sweetness of vanilla lashing at your taste buds, light caramel and toffee way in the back. A beautiful tangency of bitterness and sweetness.

My favorite Ballast Point beer and my current favorite porter. What an excellent brew. Highly recommended.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a totally opaque black body beneath the rich, thick, mocha head which is very patient to dissolve and leaves a scattered, sticky lacing about the glass.

Massive aromas of coffee, roasted malt, and vanilla bean waft from the glass and backhand you in the face. It’s unreal. So far I have sat and smelled this for about three minutes before I even took a sip.

Abundant flavors of coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate, and roasted malt all mesh perfectly in the palate. As it warms the roasted malt and vanilla only become more pronounced with perhaps a touch of a cocoa after taste.

Medium carbonation with a thick, chewy body and a semi-sweet, yet roasted finish.

This beer is incredible, one of the best I’ve had in a while. The various flavors and aromas are fantastic and none overwhelms the others. Simply great.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Wow, so impressive. Only other vanilla porter I've had was from Breckenridge, also good, but more pedestrian than this. Pours black like a stout, always a good sign. Smell, just gives a hint of the vanilla, but there's more of that to come.

The taste if phenomenal. Delic. The vanilla must absorb some alcohol, because I was shocked after having a few sips to find out this is 10%. I was guessing in the 7% range. Love when that happens. So smooth, went so good with the pork tenderloin tonight, which usually you don't pair with a stout.

Subsequent batches haven't seemed all that world class, but always very good. But they keep selling out very quickly, so they must be doing something right.

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Photo of shand
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a chalice.

This brew pours a thick black color with brown highlights. It has a finger of mocha head that goes away quickly. Lacing is nice. The smell is awesome. Roasted coffee and malts on the nose, with some nice vanilla and chocolate aspects too. The nose did nothing to prepare me for the taste though. This hits the tongue super-creamy, with the vanilla, chocolate and coffee working in tandem for a great flavor. The vanilla and chocolate fade to roasted malts, which don't stay for too long, leaving a great coffee aftertaste. This is seriously good.

The mouthfeel is very creamy with a pretty high level of carbonation for the style. 10% alcohol? No way. I don't taste a hint of the alcohol here. This is dangerously drinkable. This is seriously a good brew. I saw the tag of "imperial porter" and shrugged it out, but I can surely see the difference between this and an imperial stout. Highly recommended, especially if you love coffee beers like I do. This is seriously good.

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Photo of LordofWord
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Too spendy in the bomber format but ... yes it is tasty. Reminds me of ST Creme Brulee a bit, but less sweet. Wondering if cellaring it will tone down the heavy-handed coffee a smidge. Whatever the case, an overall excellent experience. Wish it came in sixers where I live.

EDIT: Hmmm, way heavier on the coffee the second time. Not as impressed. I am going to try cellaring it to mellow the coffee and bring up the vanilla.

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Photo of CarverMG
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, soft head. Poured 1 finger settled to top of the glass. Looks like a brand new black car.. Can see the reflection of the glass perfectly off the black background.

S: Vanilla and Coffee together. Chocolate following. A stronger espresso hit than vanilla but still balances out.

T: Espresso, Vanilla, Small hit of the ABV. A small Initial aftertaste of roasted espresso beans. Small tastes of Chocolate. Noticeably enough The vanilla pairs well with the espresso.

M: Really Smooth, Mild Carbonation, ABV kicks, Coffee (in a good way) filling the mouth.

O: Very Good Porter.. I would recommend stout lovers or even non dark beer lovers to try this.. Its a good good beer.

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Photo of vic21234
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. Enjoy by date on the bottle reads 12/20/13.

A- Pours a very dark brown/ black with some very slight red hues if held to the light. A small amount of off white head quickly fades to the sides of the glass. Some lacing is noted too.

S- Awesome smelling beer. Tons of coffee notes immediately upon popping the cap. The coffee dominates the aroma and nothing more is really noted.

T- Starts off smooth with notes of vanilla and chocolate. Then comes the huge coffee flavor which takes over the rest of the taste. A heavy coffee bitterness is at the back of each taste.

M- Smooth, medium bodied, coffee forward, bitter aftertaste.

This is a great Porter, by far the best I've had. The coffee notes are fantastic. I'm glad BP is distributing to Illinois now.

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Photo of angelogarcia3
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out syruppy with a slight head. Very dark color almost midnight in darkness. Strong vanilla creme aroma. Almost smells like I'm getting ready to drink a cream soda. However, once you take a sip of this beer you know immediately that you're not drinking a cream soda. A strong chocolate flavor with hints of vanilla and coffee. An excellent beer that I could drink over and over again.

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Photo of tut2528
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

had this one on 2 separate occasions, and I feel that this brew is extremely time sensitive because there was such drastic differences. I condensed both reviews. My review is based off the first time I tried this brew.

thanks to matttyce for helping me get my hands on these!

1st Review

A: poured into a GI tulip, it is jet black with about 2 fingers worth of mocha colored head. phenomenal lacing that is long lasting

S: big sweet vanilla, chocolate, dark fruits that are terrifically balanced. I also pick up on coffee and roasted malt.

T: similar to the nose, big chocolate and dark fruits up front, coffee and slight roasted malt in the middle with a terrific vanilla finish. alcohol is slightly present but is felt more during the mouthfeel than in the taste

M: perfect for this brew IMO. full bodied, leaves a nice light roasted coffee and dark chocolate character with a slight touch of alcohol heat

O: just a damn good all around brew. very well balanced and all the characters intermingle nicely together

2nd Review

S: huge coffee, dark chocolat,e dark fruits and roasted malt have come forward, and the vanilla is lying way in the back (4.0)

T: big coffee up front with a roasted malt backbone. dark fruits are present along with dark chocolate. the vanilla has really fallen off from what I remember. (4.0) No alcohol whatsoever

M: mostly the same as before, but a bit lighter than I remember and the alcohol is nowhere to be found. It has a more roasted malt character as well. (4.0)

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-very dark brown liquid that lets just a little bit of light shine through giving off a red hue. The head is dark tan, thick and creamy with solid retention, well over a minute, and leaves a thick lacing on the glass. Borderline perfect appearance.

S-huge nose that brings roasted malts with a nice touch of vanilla leading into the roasted java, this is begging me to drink it!

T/M huge body!!! This is so thick it is chewy! The texture is very smooth and creamy. The taste brings huge roasted malts, some nice roasted java comes in next with a hint of vanilla. There is some nice dark chocolate and the finish is slightly bitter and brings a crisp bite

D- this beer is absolutely delicious, I really enjoy all of Ballast Point's offerings that I have had so far. This beer follows suit and is absolutely huge! I love the big coffee flavors and the vanilla is very light but mixes in well with the roasted malts.

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Photo of stonewild
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Was like drinking baker's chocolate. Very nice beer, but WOW, I really needed something to clean the palate between sips. Which I had a strong cheese.

Dark, full body,dark chocolate bitter, rich flavor with a good touch of vanilla sweet.

When in the mood for a Porter's Porter, I would drink it again.

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Photo of radshoesbro
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first and foremost, it is very important that i mention that this beer needs to open up to really get the full flavor. don't be fooled into thinking this is just average, cause the further into the bottle you get, the bigger the grin on your face will be!

it pours the typical charred black with the medium tan head and some pretty good lace. there was a good deal of carbonation after pouring, which was a bit surprising.

smells of creamy malts and some coffee. there's a slight fudge smell to it.

initial taste, i'm thinking i've had better, and the normal victory at sea is better (especially on tap). the more i'm drinking it it's just getting really good. i'm patting myself on the back for buying two bottles!

i seriously could drink this all night, it goes down uber smooth! this is really a fantastic beer! i keep having to remind myself this is a porter too, i keep expecting that big stout finish, but i'm very happy with this!

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Photo of bound4er
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark as a night's sky with a two finger tan head. Smells of dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla and dark roasted coffee. Taste follows the nose quite nicely which is a good thing - vanilla, dark roasted coffee, toffee and just enough hop bitterness to keep any sweetness in check. Finishes with nice roasty persistence. Creamy, full bodied mouthfeel. This is a really well made beer that tastes great and is very easy to drink given its 10% ABV and large frame.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle I bought at that beer/wine store on Wade Ave by Wellspring. $7.99. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Its black, basically opaque, but not the darkest black. Light brown head that faded quickly at first, but a little bit remained. Very nice lacing.

Smell: Big time mocha aroma. Rich cold coffee, caramel, vanilla, cocoa, a tiny hint of a smoky roastiness. Complex, fantastic.

Taste: Again, very much like a Starbucks iced mocha. Bitter, roasty coffee, vanilla, caramel, and chocolate. A bit of heat (just a bit) and bitterness from ethanol near the end.

Mouthfeel: This thing is big, soft,and unbelievably creamy. Incredible.

Overall: What a beer! I had one a few months ago on draft that was really good, but this is amazing.

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Photo of stonermouse
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bomber into an oversized mug (single 22 oz. pour).

Pours a dark chocolate brown with a light brown head that sits for a minute, then dissipates into a small film.

Aroma is actually pretty chocolately; moreso than I expected. Almost like a plain Hershey bar. A bit of coffee in the back as well.

The flavor of this beer is phenomenal, and totally as advertised. The chocolate from the nose is third banana to the coffee, and the vanilla accent. They are perfect compliments to one another. This is a perfect dessert brew; a slow sipper for sure. The flavors were a little milder and cleaner when the beer was cool. When it warmed up a bit, the coffee took over, which was nice, but the profile certainly changed.

Mouthfeel is perfect for this brew. From the color and aroma, I suspected this would come off with stout density and bitterness, but it was perfect.

Drinkability is superb. I wish this beer was a sandwich garnish, a steak sauce, a pancake syrup, or a pie filling. This flavor profile is awesome. Merry Christmas to me.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Ted!

Pours is black. Off white head. Looks good to me.

Smell is exactly what the name implies, which is odd anymore. Upfront coffee bitterness fights with a strong vanilla flavor. Roasted malts really take a backseat.

The coffee comes in first, assaulting your mouth and winning, then the vanilla comes in just a half second later taking over and showing you how a brewer should use vanilla. It feels like whole bean vanilla.

The pervading bitterness from the coffee and roasted malt try to stick around for the aftertaste, but the vanilla leaves a subtle sweet notes of vanilla.

Theres some serious and delicate flavors that mix very well here. Very well done Ballast Point.

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Photo of grimey68
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this fresh in the beginning of December, and burnt coffee is extremely dominant in both the smell and taste; amazing if that's your thing. Hints of vanilla and subtle chocolate as well. The nose of coffee is just so dominant it's hard to get past. I plan on aging 2 or 3 and will revisit this review once aged a year.

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Photo of Jaskeller
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just found a six pack of Victory At Sea and jumped on it. Typically in Somerville I only find the single bottle so have six servings really made my day.

The coffee flavor in the beer is on the dark roast side; floral but definitely bitter. The vanilla does a really good job of balancing out the beer but it definitely is not sweet. I really like the richness of the beer; it is very dark color but not too viscous.

If you like a porter with a bit of a spicy bite and a ton of balance, pick this sucker up and enjoy it!

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Photo of travisdiener32
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

To my surprise poured into a pint glass on tap at new world brewing in Tampa. Not on the same level as wide awake it's morning but still an impressive imperial porter. Think an imperial Breckenridge vanilla porter. Looking forward to more from ballast point now that they're distributing in florida

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Photo of gcamparone
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Purchased in North Providence, RI.

Pours a deep brown, nearly black body with a light mocha colored head that reduces slowly to leave a layer of foam.

Aromas of heavy coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla come through. Very potent smelling and inviting. On the tongue is bitter coffee, really high cocoa percent dark chocolate, finish is vanilla and caramel, aftertaste is chocolatey and roasty. Very very nice. Thick and rich, low carbonation, little alcohol detected.

For a highly available imperial porter, this is a great option if you're in the distro range. Definitely would buy again. Prefer over FBS.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with a finger of off white, Carmel colored head.

Aroma yields smokey malts, burnt coffee, and tobacco.

Taste is a big burst of smoke in beginning, followed by the roasted almost burnt coffee. Tobacco notes are woven through the smokiness, but primarily present up front. I don't get any vanilla. I get unsweetened cocoa powder followed by a twang of bitterness. The end of the sip is a strong kick/hit of alcohol. Not just warmth but also flavor.

Overall the beer is pleasant,but the lack of vanilla flavor and slight boo ones drops it down for me. Still this is an excellent porter. I could see it paired with a braised lamb shank in a rich Demi glace sauce. It gets a 91.2/100.

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Photo of bnes09
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Dense viscous-looking motor oil colored liquid with a finger of whole wheat colored head on the pour. Head retreats to a ring around the glass and forms many small lace spots.

Rich, warm and inviting aroma of dark chocolate, bold coffee, vanilla and oak. Just a hint of bourbon. Extremely well balanced.

Dense, wheaty malt backbone with hints of cooked corn. Roasted malt boasts complex coffee, chocolate, toast and licorice qualities. Toffee and molasses sweetness in the perfect quantities to balance the roasted bitterness. Hop character starts as a non-specific, underlying, herbal bitterness allowing the malt character to shine through. The hops then morph into an aggresssive pinesol, garlic and nutmeg spice which maintains a good balance with the malty character and adds a spicy aftertaste. HInt of vanilla extract. Great balance for such a complex flavor.

Full bodied and bordering on a syrupy texture. Smooth and slick throughout from the dense malt then changes to ultra-dry from the aggressive hops. One of the more dynamic feels I've experienced in a beer.

Overall, this beer is outstanding. Deeply complex and delicious.

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Photo of johlac66
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brown with a light beige head that stayed in port for a short visit, leaving a few dots and streaks of lacing.
Roasted cocoa vanilla up my nostrils. Taste follows. Hint of dark fruit.
Nicely carbonated. A bit more than medium mouthfeel. Slightly bitter roasty finish.
The coffee and malt are wonderfully balanced.

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Photo of usechopstix4soup
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very black body with a thick foamy caramel head.

Smell is really what makes this beer wonderful. Smells of dark roasted coffee, vanilla, and caramel infused together dancing around the top of the brim into your nose. This is something you must try. There are bits and pieces of bread and other carby smells that give it depth.

The taste reminds me of a dark, black coffee with a shot of espresso and vanilla. It is bitter but porter lovers will be instantly drawn.

The porter has a watery body, lighter than most but this isn't something that I particular mind.

Great beer, definite recommend.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Big thanks to Khazadum for this.

4.0 A: Pours a black color. Two fingers of light brown creamy/frothy hybrid head. Average retention and some lacing. Good enough.

4.5 S: Not surprisingly the strongest aromas are coffee and vanilla. Sweetness gives the illusion of coffee with cream. Plenty of toastiness, with some roastiness as well, some grainy malts, semisweet chocolate, and caramel. Very nice.

4.5 T: Tastes a lot like the nose which is a cup of strong coffee with vanilla cream. The bitterness seems to come from mostly the coffee and it's moderate strength at best. Again, roasty and toasty, grainy, caramel and toffee, and quite tasty. Booze is hidden well.

4.5 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Super creamy and smooth. Nearly perfect.

5.0 D: This one drinks well from start to finish. Flavor is great as is the mouthfeel and this doens't seem like it's 10%. Good beer overall and easily the best I've had from BP. Sculpin doesn't even come close.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,193 ratings.